It’s a busy day. There’s already a photoshoot underway and Amori Burger is on her laptop busy with potential wine suppliers.
Since Burger became the face of Van Der Linde (VDL) in Linden, north of Johannesburg, she has been on the forefront of an exciting development in the neighbourhood.
Linden’s food scene is thriving with places like Brian Lara Rum Eatery, Choo Choo Junction and Fat Zebra, but VDL offers casual dining in a fine dining atmosphere.
“I like that all of us here are different, and so are we. We’re a destination restaurant in Linden,” says Burger about VDL’s growing popularity. “From the outside, you can’t really see inside and that’s where we surprise people. It’s warm with a veranda area.”
She also takes pride in the restaurant’s wine list that is not only focused at smaller producers but also doesn’t have a high mark-up. “Boutique winemakers have guts, they do interesting things. We make a point of not over-pricing, it helps diners learn about these other producers.”
The private dining room on a second level offers a perfect 180-degree view of the Johannesburg skyline, the same view kitchen staff enjoy.
“We were built to be a theatre of food. The kitchen, bar, bakery, you can see what we do,” Burger says. “There’s no walls hiding us when we’re busy. When we started building two years ago, that was already the plan.”
In the year VDL has been open, its bakery is doing well and there’s already plans to add a deli-like addition. That airiness has created a linger-longer hotspot with some devout followers.
“We have our regulars, but because we run three menus, they come at different time,” she says.
VDL’s menus are a reflection of Burger’s love for heavy-punch flavours, the kind you get in north Africa or India. Coupled with sensible dishes, as well as keeping up with trends, means that the menu, even in just a year, has been evolving.
Burger quickly shouts something in Afrikaans, her home language. “I cook in English,” she laughs. “Actually, the only Afrikaans names I know for food are some herbs.
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Just one of the dishes on our Meals for Two lunch and dinner menu: Lemon and herb roasted chicken, sautéed vegetables and herb gravy. #chicken #dinner #lunch #mealsfortwo #roastchicken #foodporn #foodphotography #food #delicious #delicious_food #deliciousfood #scrumptious
“I have read many incredible recipe books but if I had to choose, it would be my first one purely out of sentiment. It’s called Knuppeldik aan Koningskos and was written by the wives of the Pretoria police officers’ club,” says Burger.
“I nicked it from my mother when I was on my way to Silwood where I did my culinary studies. It has super basic recipes but they are easy to change into something wonderful. I still have it.
Last year, VDL introduced their vegan menu. “We have breakfast dishes such as chia vanilla pudding served with fresh seasonal fruits, dried goji berries and nuts.
“We also have falafel shakshuka, as well as various salads and main courses such as stuffed quince with barley, charred leeks and almonds served with a vegetable jus – and our vegan burger made with a chickpea and black bean patty, gem lettuce, tomato and aioli on a freshly baked bun with a side of chips.”
- VDL is open on Sundays and Mondays from 7am until 3pm and on Tuesdays to Saturdays from 7am until 10pm;
- Address: 50 4th Avenue, Linden;
- Bookings: 010-594-5443.